PIERRE | Opponents said Monday too many older students could enroll in kindergarten if the Legislature approved changes Rep. Dan Kaiser suggested.
The House Education Committee agreed, voting 9-3 to kill it.
Kaiser, R-Aberdeen, said parents would have still been able to send their children to school at age 5. But a second piece of HB 1256 would have required a student couldn’t be age 9 when starting kindergarten.
Currently state law says a student can’t be age 7.
A student starting at age 8 could be 9 years old before the school year was done, according to Rep. Timothy Johns, R-Lead. “I’ve got some issues with that,” he said.
He agreed with Rep. Tom Holmes, R-Sioux Falls, that a summer study might be more appropriate.
Jessica Dorn of Aberdeen said the change would correct “an inflexible, impersonal, intolerable law.”
Lobbyists for four organizations representing or aligned with home schools supported the bill. Testifying against were four lobbyists representing traditional schools.
Another opponent was Brett Arenz, a lawyer for the state Department of Education, who said the bill would allow freshmen and sophomores to drop out entirely.
“I think it was brought palms-up,” Rep. Thomas Brunner, R-Nisland, said in defense of Kaiser. “I think it’s a great idea.”
Kaiser said 20 to 30 students might be affected statewide.
Rep. Bob Glanzer, R-Huron, said he wondered “more and more” about where the legislation came from.